Professor to give keynote speech at Morehouse Innovation Expo

April 15, 2014 | Events, News, Research, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Aimee Portala

Dr. Rubin Patterson, professor and chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department and director of the Africana Studies Program, has been invited to be the keynote speaker for the annual Morehouse Innovation Expo at Morehouse College in Atlanta.



The expo attracts more than 1,000 students who present their innovation plans to entrepreneurs from the Atlanta area.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Igniting Innovative Ideas, Addressing Global Challenges.” Patterson will give a lecture titled “A Triple Win for Sustainable Development: Renewable Energy” Thursday, April 17.

“I have a complicated assignment. They want me to discuss the social implications of disruptive innovation. They also want me to discuss my academic and professional career that moved from physics and electrical engineering to engineering management to sociology to innovative sustainable development in Southern Africa,” Patterson said. “That is a tall task, but I look forward to the challenge.”

The former engineer turned sociologist has been actively involved with developmental affairs in Southern Africa since the early 1990s. He is also the director of UT’s recently launched Institute for the Study and Economic Engagement of Southern Africa Institute, which seeks to produce future leaders on Southern African affairs and support sustainable economic activity between northwest Ohio and Southern Africa.

Patterson regularly travels to South Africa to work with fellow academics, government ministries and corporations on projects concerning sustainable socioeconomic development. He also served for more than 10 years as founding editor of Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, an international peer-review journal.

“Morehouse is a one-of-a-kind institution of higher learning. I would even say it is a national treasure. Students know they are part of a great tradition, and they not only strive to live up to the exceptionally high standard of their alumni, but students actually hold one another accountable,” Patterson said. “I look forward to spending time with the campus community discussing preparation for leadership in an era of tumultuous transformation.”

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